Friday, September 11, 2009


Eight years ago this morning I was in the car on the way from Livermore, CA back to the Bay Area, having done the funeral the day before for a good friend who had gone to a lot of AA and Al-Anon meetings. She'd managed to stay sober through the death of her husband, and the suicide of her son, whom she'd found dead in her home.

I promised her a month or so earlier, that I'd do her funeral, even though I was living in the midwest at the time.

That Tuesday morning, as my friend Brian drove me to town so our friend Mary could take me to the airport while he was at work, the Bay Area NPR station interrupted its broadcast to mention that word was coming over the wires about some problem with the World Trade Center in New York, and the on-air announcer made the decision to switch the broadcasting to the live feed from D.C.

It was surreal and disturbing.

Mary hadn't been listening to the news, and thought we were kidding when we told her to turn on the TV when we got there. Shortly thereafter, when the first building collapsed, I remember my complete inability to believe what I was seeing, which was then compounded as the second tower pancaked.

I'd broken a tooth the night before, so Mary called her dentist, who was able to squeeze me in. The TVs in the dental office were all tuned to what was happening in New York and DC and Pennsylvania, and so distracted me from the present moment that I completely forgot I had gotten a temporary filling until it broke while I was in Thailand in the summer of 2004.

If anyone had told me on 11SEP01 that I'd be wearing the uniform of the United States Army with a combat deployment patch on my right shoulder by 11SEP08, and that a year later I'd be into a second deployment with the Army, I'd have thought the person completely insane.

Let's pray that the fear that inspired the cowardly actions of a few on 11SEP01, and the fear inspired in so many as a result of those actions might be outshone by truth and tolerance based in love: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear...." (1 Jn 4:18)

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ
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1 comment:

Unknown said...

So it is! "Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?..." Blessings, Tim, for you and all whom you serve.

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